Free Energy - Stuck on Nothing
Record Label: DFA Records
Release Date: March 9, 2010 (digital), May 4, 2010 (physical)
Here's a piece of vital information for your everyday music-loving life:
People copy other people. Writers copy other writers. Bands copy other bands.
Mind blowing, right? Hell, I copied Lori Beth Denberg in my opening sentence. Now to what extent one copies another is a different story, but whether you care to admit it or not, your favorite band is a culmination of influences from the past.
Recently, bands have been trying to be the next I Set My Friends on Fire, or the next big thing that can use electronic effects while using way more than anyone else has before. Previously missing have been the dreams of long hair, the sunglasses, the fast life, you know -- rock n' roll. Why can't more bands follow the blueprint of old fashioned rock?
Enter Free Energy. The 5 piece indie rock group out of Pennsylvania that have found the missing link, that one sound that can unite generations and change the face of music forever -- the cowbell.
While it may not be enough for The Bruce Dickinson, The band's debut, Stuck on Nothing, opens with a cowbell track and the appropriate statement by front man Scott Wells:
"We're breaking out this time..."
The album is a roller-coaster ride through the history of rock. You'll hear familiar chords and structures, but they will work in their own way with those cliche hand claps, subtle horns, and background vocals (you like "Na, Na, Na's"?). You'll notice cheesy lines about bright lights and big dreams, but they will be craftily assembled to create a new and refreshing summer sing along (you like "Woah, Oh, Oh's?").
Need more proof of this album's catchiness? The record was produced by James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem fame, but could easily be blasted anywhere in between Road to Ruin and The Blue Album. Now, like any roller-coaster, there are some dips in the ride as a few songs drag out, but even the weakest songs peak high. The album is chock full of melody and instrumental breakdowns ranging from the likes of Vampire Weekend, to a simpler Manchester Orchestra.
Let's face it, we're in the middle of a shift between electronic pop back to more traditional rock. We've seen it already with bands like Gaslight Anthem, Against Me! and even aspects of Neon Trees. Stuck on Nothing is right in with this shift. This is one of a handful of records already released this year that digs deep into the roots of rock music and blossoms into something new and refreshing. This is an exciting movement, an attempt to bring together hipsters of all shapes and sizes with the casual rock fan to jam out in harmony. There is something much bigger in this record than a band that seemingly rips off The Ramones. No, no, this band treads on the paths of bands from all different periods, but they're stuck on nothing. They move, twist, turn, glide, buzz, bump and groove through the airwaves and can be converted into whatever you want them to be. That's Free Energy, baby. Peace Out.
Pretty humorous review. I've been listening to this on Pitchfork's site all day and will probably buy it once I get some money. Your review actually got me looking up other reviews and stuff for this CD and I enjoy what I am hearing. Bang Pop is pretty cheesy but damn it's infectious.